Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was the queen of Tejano music. While she was leaving her first mark in Latin music and was even about to break into the American market, her life was cut short in 1995. Her last performance on February 26, 1995, less than a month before her death, was its largest with a record 66,000 people crammed inside the Houston Astrodome
Now, nearly 27 years after her death, Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, has revealed the family are releasing a new album of his music from their catalog. To honor the singer’s legacy, the family is releasing a 13-song compilation album, including an unreleased ballad Selena recorded when she was 13. Produced by Selena’s brother, AB Quintanilla, the song has been digitally mastered and altered to sound like an older Selena.
Essentially, the music is old but with new arrangements and it features three new takes on the tracks changing musical genres. “If it was a cumbia, says Abraham Quintanilla, it could [now] be a ballad.
He added: “What’s unique is not just the music, completely new arrangements, but my son worked on Selena’s voice with the computers. And if you listen to it, it sounds on this record like it did just before she died.
Born Selena Quintanilla on April 16, 1971 in Lake Jackson, Texas, the singer shot to fame in Latin America and the Southwest and became a more mainstream pop figure in 1994. Her Grammy-nominated fourth album Forbidden love, reached No. 29 on the Billboard 200 and featured the No. 1 Hot Latin Songs hits “No Me Queda Más”, “Fotos Y Recuerdos”, “Amor Prohibido”, and “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom”. Selena won her first Grammy Award for Best Mexican-American Album for To live in 1994, marking the first time a female Tejano artist won the category.
Selena dreamed of entering the American music scene with an English-language album and did so with her hit single “Dreaming of You”, which was released several months after her death. Dreaming of you became the best-selling Latin album of all time.
On March 31, 1995, Selena was shot and killed by Yolanda Saldívar, then president of her fan club and personal assistant; Saldívar is currently serving a life sentence for Quintanilla’s murder. In 1997, a biopic of Selena’s life was made, starring Jennifer Lopez.
Marking what would have been Selena’s 50th birthday in 2021, the entertainer was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys. Continuing the tribute to the singer in 2021, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History has added 18 photos of singer Tejana, photographed by Al Rendon, in addition to an instructional video highlighting the images. His family also donated one of his performance costumes to the museum in 1998.
“I said right after he died I was going to try to keep his memory alive through his music, and I think we did that,” Quintanilla said. “Nearly 26 years later, Selena is very present in today’s music world.”
Photo: Smithsonian National Museum of American History